Evan Horowitz is a marketer with 20+ years of experience counseling big name brands, while Geoffrey Goldberg is an award-winning director, choreographer, and writer with a long list of Broadway credits, international tours, and on popular TV shows, including Conan O’Brien and Dancing with the Stars.
Did we mention they are married? With children?
Movers+Shakers has racked up more than 90 billion views of TikTok videos it has produced for clients. Here they explain the marketing potential of TikTok, their own agency, and a little about themselves.
Geoffrey, you are a director, choreographer, and writer and Evan, you are a marketer. What brought you together to launch your agency? Did you already know each other?
Funny story, we’re actually married! Business partners, life partners and parents. Our lives are completely intertwined.
I didn’t know! That’s embarrassing! Founding and running a business together is not for every married couple. Any advice for couples thinking about doing it?
No reason to be embarrassed! It’s not something we talk about in our marketing, but our team and clients know that Movers+Shakers is a family business.
And yes, working with your spouse can be really tough. Our biggest success factor has been our mutual commitment to owning and working through our side of an issue. So when we have an argument, we (separately) work on shifting our perspective from blaming the other to seeing how we contributed, and taking ownership for our own emotional reaction. Easier said than done, but the investment here has paid off throughout our relationship, including parenting!
Movers+Shakers launched in 2016, which is the same year that TikTok launched. Is that a coincidence, or was TikTok part of your strategy from the start?
Total coincidence! We launched Movers+Shakers with a mission to spread joy, leveraging Geoffrey’s incredible musical storytelling ability. For the first few years, we were focused on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. We got really good at connecting brands to culture through original music.
So, when TikTok came along, we saw a new opportunity for brands! Here is a platform driven by music and culture, and we knew exactly how to use music and culture to drive brand buzz. Movers+Shakers really had an unfair advantage on TikTok!
Movers+Shakers had a huge success with a TikTok campaign at the end of 2019, and that success seems to have put the firm on the map as the “go to” agency for brands looking to capitalize on TikTok. Does Movers+Shakers do TikTok campaigns exclusively now?
While our leadership on TikTok has driven a lot of our agency’s fame, we work extensively across social media. Our focus is on the frontiers of social marketing. Brands seek us out to help them stay on the cutting edge–today it’s TikTok, and also Triller, Reels, Clubhouse, etc. And we’re always connecting these to the legacy platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook–to maximize the impact.
Our work on TikTok is diverse too. While most people know about viral challenges, we also help our clients with their brand channels, influencer campaigns, ads, and other new forms of disruptive activations (like the first-ever TikTok-native reality show). We help brands from initial strategy to creative idea all the way through execution.
Was there an abrupt growth burst for Movers+Shakers after that 2019 TikTok campaign? How did you manage it, and how did it change the company?
Yes! When you create the most viral campaign in history (5 million user-generated videos!), people start knocking on your door. Since then, our agency has grown over 2000%! It’s been an exhilarating and exhausting challenge to drive this kind of growth. The best part is going on a hiring spree to build the most joyful, positive, collaborative team we could ever imagine working with.
What are the elements of a successful TikTok ad campaign?
The biggest thing to keep in mind is to make your content feel native to TikTok. A lot of brands struggle to adapt to TikTok’s authentic, lo-fi storytelling style. The playbook that made you successful on Instagram will make you look like an awkward interloper on TikTok.
TikTok is entertaining, authentic and joyful. Storytelling, trends and community are at the core. It’s important for brands to keep this in mind, and your results will be strong.
What’s your advice for small companies and newer brands marketing on a shoestring budget? Is TikTok a workable option for them?
One of the awesome things about TikTok is that it’s accessible to all. For brands with smaller budgets, there are more affordable ways to test the waters, like working with some TikTok influencers, or doing some paid media. Running a test is the best way to see and feel how your brand can look in this new platform.